How the Irish government pulled off a Brexit coup

Denis Staunton has an excellent piece in the Irish Times about how Enda Kenny achieved so much success, so quickly with the Brexit negotiations. Whilst some were waxing lyrical about Spain’s aggressive stance over Gibraltar, Ireland pretty much went back to basics, quietly in the background working with officials and quietly pushed forward its agenda.

The prominence of Ireland’s issues in the EU’s guidelines, including a statement guaranteeing that Northern Ireland could automatically rejoin the EU as part of a united Ireland, is the product of an unprecedented political and diplomatic effort that began even before the UK voted to leave the EU.

The State’s efforts have required strategic planning, detailed analysis, cunning and the cultivation and exploitation of personal relationships.

When David Cameron announced a UK referendum on its EU membership, the Government decided that, unlike in the 2014 vote on Scottish independence, the Republic would actively advocate for a Remain vote.

Ahead of the campaign, Irish officials made assessments of the potential impact of Brexit on the economy, trade, the Border, the peace process and the movement of people between Britain and Ireland.

So when Britain voted to leave, the State was better prepared than most other EU member states to make its concerns heard in Brussels and other European capitals.

The Taoiseach, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and Mr Murphy led the political offensive with a round of visits to European capitals, where their meetings were not confined to discussions with their ministerial counterparts.

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  • SDLP supporter

    You’re deviating from the SF line there, mo chars. Remember the good old days when Gerry and Mary Lou wanted theIrish government to tell the ESF and EIB to ‘get lost’ and to take their money with them?

  • Jeff

    Thanks for the help Phillip, but don’t forget Britains net contributions to the EU while the republic had been until last year a net benefiticary. I think you find one comfortably outweighs the other. I’ll take your thanks as read

  • Fear Éireannach

    The British don’t think Norway’s deal acceptable as they are expecting a fairytale. So they won’t ask for what is reasonable and will characterise anything short of a fairytale as ‘punishment’.

  • Sag Ichnicht

    People who are crazy enough to liken the EU to one of the bloodiest regimes in history, usually do so. Excuse me however if that is not the case here. I do wonder however how you could find being an EEA state acceptable when that EEA means effectively being a satellite state of the EU.

  • Sag Ichnicht

    It started with the time before the European election, where the different party groups chose lead candidates who were campaigning for the office of Commission President. The lead candidate of the party group which won the election was Juncker. He, together with his party group, the EPP, consequently succeeded in securing a majority in the European Council as well as the freshly elected European Parliament. So the Council accepted proposing him and the European Parliament elected him. Following this, Juncker distributed competences to Commission candidates, which then had to survive hearings in Parliament, as Parliament also had to elect the entire Commission as well. Needless to say that even after that vote the Commission is checked by the European Parliament and can be dismissed any time, simply majority suffices.

    There you go. Not so different from many other parliamentary democracies. In fact some member states have even much less parliamentary scrutiny over the nomination of the executive, even though their executive is more powerful all in all.

    The Commission has the privilige of formally initiating legislation, however the legislative institutions (Council of ministers and the European Parliament) can propose legislation to the Commission, which in turn usually follows those proposals. And before you go on talking about how important the right to initiate legislation is for a parliament, could you be so kind to tell me which legislation has been recently initiated and put into force by Parliament against the will of the government?

  • Sag Ichnicht

    That is funny view of reality because Juncker was not the preferred candidate of France and most certainly not of Merkel (she even tried to prevent him from getting close to that office). The main reason he made it into office was because he was the lead candidate of the winning party group in the election and the European Parliament insisted on him being proposed as it would refuse to elected anyone else, as he was on the winning side of the election and had the full support of a Parliament majority.

    While all of that was happening most Brits were not even aware of any of that as the British media refuses to cover any European politics an any serious manner.

    PS: Oh btw, Juncker also did not become lead candidate because Merkel said so, (as I said, Merkel was no fan of him being that) but because the EPP affiliated party members from all across the EU voted him into that position, in a pan-EU conference done for deciding the lead candidate and the party program.

  • Philip Murphy

    Come on now Jeff. Britain was in deep deep trouble (sick man of Europe and all that) in the 1970’s. It got extremely lucky in striking oil when it did. If we could only all strike oil when we run into trouble the world would be a fine place. If the UK had not struck oil, things would have continued in the grim vein they had been in when the IMF was called in. I suspect the British public were so well insulated (through oil money) from the harsh reality of the decline in British manufacturing and its substitution by services that we have come to Brexit, where the populace has convinced itself the rest of the world is queuing up to buy Britain’s exports, but nobody told them the exports are now largely financial products which can be fairly easily substituted in local markets. In 1900 an Indian may have had little choice but to buy that Clydebank built steam engine, but nowadays he can get his house insurance from a bank in India just as easily as from a bank in London. This is a the fatal flaw of Brexit and it astounds me that a country like the UK is heading coach and horses towards it. It is not something I delight in by the way….I know full well it will damage Ireland significantly and I have friends and family in England.

  • grumpy oul man

    “EU Soviet”now there is a name to propaganda with.
    How is the EU a Soviet rather than a union
    But congrats apart from being innaccurate it also sounds all stalinist and Gulag,

  • grumpy oul man

    So no actual links or proof, just a opinion really

  • Marcus Orr

    Actually it was “soviet” with a small S. The point being that as power is concentrated in the worker’s soviet to make decisions for everyone, so too in the EU power is concentrated in Brussels to make decisions for everyone. Obviously I was making no comparison to the old Soviet Union (big S).
    If you wish I’ll only use the term “EU superstate” from now on, if you prefer.

  • Marcus Orr
  • grumpy oul man

    With it own laws and a deal to move out of the UK and reunite once the border poll is won.
    Roger I know you would love to think it’s as British as Finchley, but it’s not mate

  • Pang

    The contrast is between Ireland & the UK regarding Europe. Ireland has always know what it wanted from Europe & often know how to get it (lots of background shmooze, compromise & patience), whereas the British have rarely know what they wanted from Europe or how to get it – grandstanding & vetos.

  • Roger

    With its own laws…only on matters Westminster has said it can make laws on…and Westminster can overturn any UKNI local law

  • grumpy oul man

    So,it has different laws from England, Scotland and Wales.
    So you can’t claim that equality laws in England,Scotland and Wales apply to NI, so just because NI is in a political setup with the political entities on Great Britain you cannot claim it is as liberal as say London since it has less liberal laws than those that apply in London.

  • Roger

    I’ve now lost the significance.
    UKNI is a U.K. Region with limited local law making Authority. Far less than a US State. Possibly approximate to a German Land. It does not have some special status.

  • grumpy oul man

    I wonder are we talking about the same place,
    Does Finchley have a assembly and it’s own civil service, a agreement to join another country.
    Does Birmingham have a good Friday agreement.
    Sorry Roger Special status.